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Almost 100 brands sign new International Accord

By Simone Preuss


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Garment worker. Credits: Bestseller

The International Accord, an international agreement on health and safety in the textile and garment industry, celebrated its tenth anniversary at the end of last year. What began as the Bangladesh Accord in 2013 became the Transition Accord 2018 five years later, and was signed by more than 190 brands and retailers as well as global trade unions.

This was followed in 2021 by the International Accord, which more than 180 companies signed in its first year. On 1st November 2023, the agreement was extended, but as of 3rd January 2024, only around 100 brands and retailers have signed the new International Accord, 87 the Bangladesh Accord and 92 the Pakistan Accord.

Accord turns ten

Because the renewal process is laborious, as brands and retailers have to recommit each time, this time the Internal Agreement will run for three years with automatic renewal for a further three years, making it the longest term to date with a total of six years.

“As a member of the International Accord's steering committee, we’re proud of the work done with our key partners at IndustriAll Global Union and UNI Global Union, in developing this new agreement. We encourage all garment and textile companies to sign this agreement and join our collective goal of a safe and sustainable textile and garment industry,” commented Felicity Tapsell, head of responsible sourcing at Bestseller, in a press release.

Industry giants support International Accord, luxury brands absent

While industry giants like Adidas, Asos, Bestseller, Boohoo, C&A, Carrefour, El Corte Ingles, Fast Retailing, H&M, Hugo Boss, Inditex, Marks & Spencer, Primark, PVH, Otto Group and Puma have committed to the new Accord, others are absent, among them luxury group LVMH and most luxury brands.

Nike, Kering, Li Ning, Shein, VF, and Zalando are also not among the signatories and while US retail giant Walmart is absent, competitors Kmart and Target are represented only by their Australian divisions.

As part of the Accord agreement, 56,000 factory inspections have been carried out over the last ten years and 140,000 health and safety issues resolved in 2,400 factories.

More than two million workers have been trained on health and safety, and all workers in factories covered by the Accord have access to a hotline where they can anonymously raise concerns in these areas.

However, an area not covered is wages - a much debated topic with demands for a living wage being heard in all garment-producing countries. In Bangladesh, thousands of garment workers have been laid off in the last few months over protests against the new minimum wage, which leaves Bangladesh still at the bottom in international comparison.


Also read:

Bangladesh Accord
International Accord